Volkswagen e-up! review

The Volkswagen e-up! electric car has been given a midlife nip-and-tuck, including a bigger battery that helps to substantially improve its range

£20,555
Electric

Pros

  • Grown-up driving experience
  • Decent real-world range
  • Excellent visibility

Cons

  • Skoda Citigo-e iV is cheaper
  • No infotainment system
  • Cable storage is poor
Car type Range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 159 miles 5hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.2kW) 48mins (10-80%, 30kW)

Later this year, the long-awaited Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback will arrive in the UK. The company’s first dedicated pure-electric car will rival models like the Kia e-Niro and Nissan Leaf when it goes on sale, plugging the gap left by the discontinued Volkswagen e-Golf.

However, that platform is not due to support a city car until 2023, so in the meantime the recently updated e-up! has a rather important job to do. 

The latest e-up! has improved significantly from the model that launched in 2014; a new, more energy-dense 36.8kWh battery occupies the same physical space as the old 18.7kWh unit, now returning up to 159 miles of range on a single charge.

It’ll do 0-62mph in around 12 seconds, but that hit of instant torque – synonymous with electric cars – means it feels faster and more fun than the numbers suggest.

Inside, the e-up! is surprisingly spacious, but it’s let down by a spartan dashboard that features a crude smartphone cradle instead of a more modern touchscreen infotainment system.

Quality is good, but fresher rivals like the Honda e and MINI Electric appear more upmarket and trump the up! for standard kit. Still, you pay a premium for those models, despite the fact they’re no bigger or practical than the cleverly conceived Volkswagen.

So, while at almost £20,000 the e-up! does look expensive, in some ways it’s a more convincing package than several cars costing £5-£10,000 more.

The e-up!’s biggest flaw is the competition it faces from within the Volkswagen Group: the Skoda Citigoᵉ iV and the SEAT Mii electric are virtually identical under the metal, and offer the same package for less money.

For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen e-up!, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.